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There are hundreds of rewards credit cards on the market today, and it can be difficult to pick just one. This is true when you’re comparing premium travel credit cards with annual fees over $500, but it’s also the case when you’re looking at mid-tier travel credit cards or cards with no annual fee.
You may even find yourself staring down two unique offers like the Discover it® Miles and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which makes sense. After all, these two cards offer generous rewards with no major bonus categories to keep track of.
Before you choose one of these cards, however, you’ll want to look over major details and fine print that spells out how you can use your rewards, the fees you’ll pay and perks you may not even know about. Still can’t decide? Our in-depth analysis can help you pick.
|Discover it Miles||Capital One Venture|
|Welcome bonus||Discover will match all rewards earned after your first year||75,000 miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening|
|Rewards rate||Unlimited 1.5X miles on all purchases||5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 2X miles on all other purchases|
|Intro APR||0 percent intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (14.24 percent to 25.24 percent variable APR after)||17.49 percent to 25.49 percent variable APR|
|Redemption options||Use rewards for:
||Use rewards for:
Discover it Miles vs. Capital One Venture highlights
Which of these two travel credit cards will leave you better off? That depends on what you care about the most, whether it’s a welcome offer, a higher rewards rate or no annual fee. Read on to learn which of these two cards win in the most important categories.
Welcome bonus winner: Capital One Venture
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. These miles are worth an average of 1 cent each, although you can potentially get more value if you transfer them to Capital One airline and hotel partners. Either way, this bonus is worth a minimum of $750.
By contrast, the Discover it Miles does not offer a traditional welcome bonus. Instead, Discover will match all the rewards you have earned after the first year.
When you run the numbers, you can see that you would have to spend $40,000 on your card within a year to earn 60,000 bonus miles through Discover’s Cashback Match program. That’s a lot of spending for most people, thus the Capital One Venture is easily the winner in this category.
Rewards rate winner: Capital One Venture
The Capital One Venture also wins in terms of its rewards rate, considering you earn a minimum of 2X miles on all purchases and 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
The Discover it Miles only offers 1.5X miles for each dollar you spend.
Annual Fee winner: Discover it Miles
Still, the Discover it Miles stands out due to its lack of an annual fee. Meanwhile, the Capital One Venture charges $95 per year, and this annual fee is not waived during year one.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie
Neither of these cards charge foreign transaction fees, so they’re both suitable for international travel.
Which card earns the most?
Since the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a higher earning rate on everyday purchases, you’ll always earn more with this card than you would with the Discover it Miles.
That said, how much more you’ll earn the first year depends on how much you use your card and whether you would book travel through Capital One.
Discover it Miles vs. Capital One Venture spending example
To see the disparity in rewards, it can help to consider a true life spending example. With that in mind, let’s imagine you have a family of four. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), your average food spending would work out to $1,224.70 per month (or $14,696.40 per year) on a moderate plan.
Let’s also imagine you spend $300 per month ($3,600 per year) dining out, $300 per month ($3,600 per year) on hotels and rental cars and $1,000 per month ($12,000 per year) on miscellaneous purchases.
With the Capital One Venture, you would earn 78,592 miles the first year:
- 29,392 miles on groceries
- 7,200 miles on dining out
- 18,000 miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
- 24,000 miles on regular spending
When you add in the 60,000 bonus miles you earn the first year, as well, your rewards haul works out to 138,592 miles, worth $1,385.
With the Discover it Miles, on the other hand, you would earn 50,844 miles on spending during the first year:
- 22,044 miles on groceries
- 5,400 miles on dining out
- 5,400 miles on hotels and rental cars
- 18,000 miles on regular spending
After the first year of card membership, Discover would match your miles for a total rewards haul of 101,688 miles, worth $1,016.
Why should you get the Capital One Venture?
You can’t deny that the Capital One Venture offers a better rewards rate in every scenario. However, there are additional reasons this card is well worth it.
Capital One Venture benefits are fairly substantial for a card with no annual fee. For example, cardholders get two free visits to Capital One airport lounges each year, and they can continue visiting these lounges for a $45 rate (per visit) thereafter.
Other benefits include access to presale tickets and other member experiences, complimentary concierge services, auto rental collision damage waiver coverage, a fee credit worth up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, extended warranty coverage on eligible items and lost luggage reimbursement.
Capital One miles are considerably more valuable than they used to be considering the card issuer improved the transfer ratios on many of its hotel and airline partners in 2021. These days, you can move your miles to Capital One transfer partners like Aeroplan, Air France / Flying Blue, Choice Privileges, Emirates and Singapore Airlines. Thanks to the latest improvements to the program, most partners now have a transfer ratio of 1:1.
Cardholders can also redeem miles for travel through the Capital One Travel portal or for statement credits to cover eligible travel purchases made within the last 90 days. Further, rewards can be used for gift cards or purchases through PayPal or Amazon.com.
Recommended credit score
The Capital One Venture requires good or excellent credit. This typically includes any FICO credit score of 670 or above.
Why should you get the Discover it Miles?
The main reason to consider the Discover it Miles out of these two cards is if you don’t want to pay an annual fee. Other nuances to be aware of are detailed below.
The Discover it Miles is fairly light on perks and benefits, although you do get a free FICO credit score, free Social Security number alerts, free credit monitoring and free overnight shipping of a new card when your credit card is lost or stolen.
However, the main standout benefit is this card’s introductory offer for purchases and balance transfers. Thanks to this card’s 0 percent intro APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (14.24 percent to 25.24 percent variable APR thereafter), you can save money as you pay down large purchases or consolidate debt from other cards.
The Discover it Miles doesn’t have any transfer partners you can move your rewards to, but you do have the option to redeem for statement credits for travel purchases made in the last 180 days. You can also redeem your miles for statement credits to cover all or part of your credit card bill, electronic deposits to a bank account or gift cards.
Recommended credit score
The Discover it Miles credit card requires a good or excellent credit score. This typically includes any FICO credit score of 670 or above.
The bottom line
If you’re ready to choose a travel credit card and are looking closely at the Capital One Venture and Discover it Miles, you should stop and think about what you want most. Do you prefer to have the chance to earn a higher rewards rate on everything you buy, or do you want a credit card with no annual fee?
If you’re still torn between these two cards, you should spend some time comparing additional travel credit cards from Capital One, Discover and other major issuers. By comparing all your options side by side, you can find a travel credit card with the earning rate, redemption options and perks you want the most.